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The Tocqueville Society

Tocqueville Society members are exceptional individuals who share significant resources that help implement United Way’s coordinated response to community needs.

Make a Lasting Impression with the Tocqueville Society

This philanthropic group was named by United Way of America for the Frenchman Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel de Tocqueville, who critiqued our country’s evolving political and social structure in Democracy in America (1835 and 1840) and declared himself most impressed with Americans’ generosity:

“I must say that I have seen Americans make great and real sacrifices to the public welfare; and I have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend faithful support to one another.”


Our Tocqueville Society was formed in 1985 by C. Allen Favrot, a native of New Orleans who followed a long family tradition of philanthropy and service to our community. Our current membership includes over one hundred and fifty civic and philanthropic leaders who understand our community’s challenges and who want to be a part of the solution. An annual gift to United Way of $10,000 places you among this uniquely engaged group of philanthropists.


The Alexis de Tocqueville Society for the Greater New Orleans Area counts within its ranks an exceptional array of leadership. Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, community activists and members of old and influential families are bound together by a major commitment of resources in support of the common good.

The one criterion for membership is an annual gift of at least $10,000. The gift must come from an individual’s personal resources or a living family foundation. Corporate gifts qualify only when the donor privately owns the company. Gifts from publicly held companies do not qualify for Tocqueville membership.


  • Invitations to events exclusively for Tocqueville members.
  • Special recognition at the Alexis De Tocqueville Celebration.
  • Being part of an outstanding, engaged group of philanthropic leaders.
  • The knowledge that you are making significant contributions towards bringing about lasting change, transforming lives, and thereby transforming our community.


Each year, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way of Southeast Louisiana presents its highest award for exemplary leadership in community, volunteerism, and philanthropy. These outstanding philanthropists serve as inspiration for all of us who endeavor to create a better community for our citizens.

Past Award Recipients

  • 2018 Mary Keller Zervigon
  • 2017 J. Wayne Leonard
  • 2016 Alexis Hocevar
  • 2015 David Fennelly
  • 2014 John Hollowell
  • 2013 Gary & Mary Ann Ostroske
  • 2012 Carol Wise
  • 2011 Karen & Henry Coaxum
  • 2010 William Goldring
  • 2009 Phyllis M. Taylor
  • 2008 Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • 2007 New Orleans Saints
  • 2006 Kim Sport
  • 2004 Robert W. Merrick
  • 2002 Harry J. Blumenthal, Jr.
  • 2001 Hans A.B. Jonassen
  • 2000 Frank B. Stewart, Jr.
  • 1999 Gerard A. Brechtel
  • 1998 Florence W. Schornstein
  • 1997 Hope and Michael Read
  • 1996 Edwin Lupberger
  • 1995 James R. Moffett
  • 1994 Sr. Anthony Barczykowski, D.C.
  • 1993 William F. Wallace, III
  • 1992 John K. Roberts, Jr.
  • 1991 Diana Lewis
  • 1990 Charles Teamer, Sr.
  • 1989 Leon Sarpy
  • 1988 A. Louis Read
  • 1987 C. Allen Favrot
  • 1986 Charles Keller


We value the generosity of our Tocqueville donors whose gifts are making a lasting impact in Southeast, Louisiana. To recognize our members, we have multiple Tocqueville Recognition Levels based on a level of giving. Of course, if you choose to be anonymous, we will respect that request. Thank you for your generosity!


  • La Table Ronde de Millions de Dollars - $1,000,000+
  • Ordre de Prospérité - $750,000-999,999
  • Ordre de Connaissance - $500,000- $749,999
  • Ordre d'Indépendance - $250,000-$499,999
  • La Société Nationale - $100,000-249,999
  • Ordre d'Egalité - $50,000 - $74,999
  • Ordre de Liberté - $25,000 - $49,999
  • Ordre de Générosité - $15,000- $24,999
  • Membres de la Société - $10,000-$14,999

Contact Michelle Clarke Payne by email or 504-827-9258 to learn how you can become involved in the United Way Tocqueville Society and/or to inquire about membership benefits.